Skip to main content

The UT Humanities Center is extending the campus classroom to the Orangery. In partnership with the Knoxville restaurant, the center is launching a series called “Conversations and Cocktails” starting in January.

The series gives the public the chance to learn about and discuss the big ideas of history while enjoying Orangery favorites. The discussions are free and run from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Dinner reservations are required. To reserve a table, call the Orangery at 865-588-2964.

Housed within the College of Arts and Sciences, the Humanities Center features graduate student and faculty fellows whose work explores what it means to be human, our place in the universe, and our obligation to extend compassion and social justice to one another. Scholars in residence work on such diverse projects as translations of sacred scripture and the devastation wrought by World War II.

“The humanities, like the food that nourishes our bodies, sustains and deepens our understanding of our place in this complex universe. The study and research of the humanities is central to our development as human beings,” said Director Tom Heffernan.

The first conversation, “Damned to the Beasts,” will take place on Tuesday, January 13. Heffernan will kick off the series with a discussion of how initial persecution of Christians by the Romans led to Christianity becoming the official religion of Rome.

“The Romans were normally a religiously tolerant people but they saw some religions, like Christianity, as politically subversive,” said Heffernan. “I’ll share a firsthand experience of a young Roman woman who was imprisoned and eventually executed by wild beasts in the Amphitheatre.”

Heffernan is the Kenneth Curry Professor in the Humanities Emeritus. He is the author of some half-dozen books, including The Passion of Perpetua and Felicity, which won the Modern Language Association of America’s award for best critical edition and translation for 2012–13.

Other talks include:

February 3—Vejas Liulevicius, Lindsay Young Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society: “Eastern Europe’s Dangers.”

March 3—Ernest Freeberg, head of the Department of History: “Inventing Light.”

April 7—Aleydis Van de Moortel, Lindsay Young Associate Professor in Classics and archaeologist: “Conversations with Ancients.”

May 5—Katherine Hodges-Kluck, doctoral student in history: “Lionheart’s Crusade.”

For more information on the Humanities Center, visit the website.

C O N T A C T:

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460,